RCDA offers details about expansions

ELKINS — The Randolph County Development Authority was provided information about two construction projects — the Armstrong Flooring expansion and the enhancement of the West Virginia Wood Technology Center’s Wood Shop.

“The Armstrong project has started the foundation work, with much progress to be done within the next two weeks,” Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority and the West Virginia Wood Technology Center, said during last week’s RCDA meeting. “Just like every construction job in the world right now, it is weather-dependent.”

Made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Armstrong Flooring distribution center project also is expected to help retain 60 existing jobs and generate approximately $16.2 million in private investment, officials said during the October announcement.

Opened in 1989 along U.S. 250 south of Beverly, the Armstrong facility produces flooring from oak, hickory and maple, and currently employs more than 600 people. Plans call for the new construction to begin this summer and be completed in the summer of 2019.

The project will enable Armstrong to consolidate storage of its finished flooring products at the plant, instead of shipping products to off-site distribution centers. Additional space also will be available for potential future expansion of manufacturing capacity, officials said.

Morris also talked about the expansion of the WVWTC’s Wood Shop.

“Our capital project for this fiscal year was the expansion of the wood shop,” Morris said. “We took a tour of the shop and of Bay 2. Our original plan, which doesn’t always work out, was to cut the bay in half and just expand the shop by 2,500 square feet.

“After looking at what that was going to mean for fire codes, sprinklers, construction, with a few other things, it was determined that it was more economically feasible to take the entire Bay 2,” Morris said.

Bay 2 of the Wood Shop is currently open, with space available. Bay 3 is currently used as offices for several companies.

Some of the current issues the Wood Shop is facing include the shop being crowded and storage space being very limited, officials said. The expansion will alleviate these problems as well as being able to provide more machines for use.